Since the sitcom's star Dermot Morgan died, in February 1998, it has been assumed (quite understandably) that there would be only three series of Father Ted, the last and best of which would guarantee an enduring legacy. So, for me at least, the prospect of the characters returning for the "real final episode" in the form of a musical - as revealed yesterday by their co-creator Graham Linehan - is one that fills me with a sense of anguish and dread.
I can imagine that Linehan and Arthur Mathews may have felt frustrated that the show was brought to a premature end by circumstances beyond their control (and not just the whims of TV commissioners, either). But deciding to resurrect it now, so many years later, is fraught with danger and runs the very serious risk of tarnishing the reputation that the existing episodes have deservedly earned. Linehan's recent work (Motherland, Count Arthur Strong) has been patchy, and there is of course also the question of who will step into Morgan's role - and, for that matter, the role of Father Jack, with actor Frank Kelly having died two years ago.
Fingers crossed the musical works, and lives up to (or at least approaches) the exceptionally high standards set by the TV episodes.